Sherri Lupton Hollister

Fighting Like a Writer

My novel, Chrome Pink, is fiction. Unfortunately, cancer is not. Few of us haven’t had someone we know or love diagnosed with cancer. Many of us have had to watch someone we care about die.

In eastern North Carolina the cancer rate is higher than it is in the rest of the state. It is the leading cause of death in Beaufort County. At twenty four percent, we in Beaufort County have a higher cancer rate than the state’s average. We also have a higher rate of death from cancer, targeting males and especially, African American males. But cancer is the great equalizer. It cares not if you are rich or poor, old or young, black or white. Cancer affects us all.

In my novel, Chrome Pink, I have two characters dealing with cancer. My former agent dinged me on this but in my world, it would not be uncommon for one friend to lose her grandfather to cancer, while another’s mother is dealing with breast cancer. Chrome Pink’s first chapter opens with a funeral. Rae Lynne is devastated after the death of her grandfather.

The motorcycle Rae Lynne restores in this novel is to raise money for cancer research. The title, Chrome Pink, represents the motorcycle. The idea for the motorcycle came from a combination of people and events. My friend’s husband passed away and she gave his old motorcycle to my husband’s boss, her cousin. Because of the family connection, the boss was compelled to restore the bike as a tribute to his friend’s life. While the bike was not painted pink nor used to raise money for cancer, this was where the idea for restoring a motorcycle for cancer research came from.

I chose breast cancer because of its visibility and because several friends have gone through this frightening and devastating illness. We’ve all seen the pink ribbons, the tee shirts that say things like “Save the Tatas,” and the color pink is easily recognizable as being for breast cancer. I have trouble remembering what the other color ribbons represent but I have no doubts when I see a pink ribbon.

A pink Harley. The idea of using a masculine bike like a Harley Davidson and painting it such a feminine color made me smile. Most young people would think nothing of a pink Harley, but older dudes and hardcore bikers responded with, “Nah, that’s just not right. A Harley shouldn’t be pink.” It’s that reaction I’d hoped Chrome Pink would create. If people are talking, they’re aware. If they’re aware, then they’ll react. If we want a cure for cancer, we have to do all we can to make it a reality.

While Chrome Pink is a work of fiction, and the money Dana and Rae Lynne raise for cancer only in my imagination. I hope to use this story to help bring awareness for cancer research. I am raffling off a copy of Chrome Pink with a matching Chrome Pink (13 x 13) bag, candle, and “pink ribbon” jewelry to raise money for the Beaufort/Hyde Relay for Life. Tickets available for a $2 donation, three for $5. The drawing will be held on April 15th, 2018.

My novel isn’t going to change to the world but perhaps I can make a difference in one life. My only hope is that I can use my work to raise money and do my part as a member of my local Relay for Life team. Each team member must raise at least one hundred dollars, all of the proceeds go to Relay for Life and stay in Beaufort and Hyde Counties.

Together, we can make a difference.

Sherri Lupton Hollister

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